new york city neighborhoods bookstores
The Corner Bookstore in the Upper East Side. Photo: Getty Images

New Yorkers know that neighborhoods here can change quickly. It can be hard to keep up, especially for those small businesses that are iconic to those communities.

Now, the city’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is launching a new initiative to help those mom-and-pop shops not only survive, but thrive amid changes like rising rents or incoming competition, with the help of one-on-one expert counseling and grant funding.

“At SBS, we believe that small businesses are really the backbone of New York City’s economy,” said Rachel Van Tosh, deputy commissioner of SBS’s Division of Business Services. “We want to make sure to help businesses that are a big part of their community adapt to changes in their neighborhoods, whether it is a box store changing the neighborhood’s demographics or a shift in their industry.”

“This will help provide intensive services to business owners to make that shift,” she added, “and it will also help the city learn about ways that we can help even more businesses across the city facing similar issues.”

 

Small businesses can now apply to receive one-on-one expert advice, as well as up to $90,000 in grant awards to implement that advice. Businesses are eligible if they’ve been operating for at least three years and are a non-franchise small business within the five boroughs.

Applications are open at nyc.gov/loveyourlocal through July 17, and 20 grants will be awarded for the first round in September. For the application, business owners will have to fill out some information about their company, where they’re located and what sorts of challenges they are facing.

If approved, those business owners will sit down with industry experts to plan out improvement projects on topics from recruiting and training employees to updating technology to enhancing the business location.

This grant program is the second phase of NYC Love Your Local, a Small Business Service’s campaign meant to celebrate the city’s independent, small businesses, and get more New Yorkers to shop local. For the first phase, New Yorkers highlighted more than 2,000 businesses they love within their own communities via an online map.

“New Yorkers love their mom and pop shops, and the proof is in the overwhelming support for these businesses on our NYC Love Your Local interactive map and social media campaign,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, in a statement. “These grant awards are the next step in the City’s commitment to ensure that neighborhood businesses remain central to the New York City experience.”

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